Here I sit at mid-morning Tuesday, facing a 5 p.m. deadline and no idea what I’ll write about. I had planned to make some predictions for the New Year but this time squeeze I’ve gotten myself in doesn’t allow for research and compiling. I’ll just have to go with whatever comes to the top of my head. Sometimes that’s some of my better columns but also the ones who get me in more trouble. I’ll try to avoid that. Here we are in the last few days of 2011, it’s unbelievable that in a few days it will be 2012.*****One prediction I can make is something we’ll hear about through the new year. The world’s coming to an end Dec. 21, 2012. It won’t happen but it’s amazing how that preacher is getting so much ride on a crazy notion that millions of folks will buy into.*****This year has been one of rebound for us and also the country. We’re not there yet but things look brighter. The one thing that will live in history is the finding and killing of Bin Laden, cutting off the head of the snake makes the world safer. That was big, bigger than most realize. He planned and executed 9-11. He had bigger plans that died with him.*****In this week’s issue we are featuring our annual “All Orange County football team.” Also we will feature a review of stories and regular columns that ran over the last year. This will be interesting to read cover to cover. Our pages are loaded with good things from our family of advertisers also.*****I’ve got a long way to go and a very short time to do it so I’ll hunker down here and see what we come up with. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


The last remaining U.S. troops, other than the contingent assigned to the American embassy, have been withdrawn from Iraq after nine years of war there. Was going into Iraq the right thing to do? By a large majority Americans believe not. What lessons should we draw from our experience of going there for nine years, with 4,300 lives lost, 40,000 wounded Americans and $800 billion plus spent? We killed 150,000 Iraqi, many of them citizens and children. We invaded Iraq based on the Bush Administrations rational for war, which turned out to be made up of distortions and deceptions. The American people were too easily manipulated and deceived into endorsing that war of choice. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. The American media failed us. They should truly investigate the Iran situation before we again embark on the failures of the past. We are forever grateful for our military service men and women who served in Iraq. Hopefully soon our soldiers can be brought home from Afghanistan and we will never again have to put boots on the ground. We have enough air power to handle any situation without hand-to-hand combat. Too often our young service personal have been put in harms way for the wrong reasons. They will fight wherever they are sent. Let’s hope it won’t ever be necessary again.


Texas attorney general Greg Abbott asked a Washington court earlier to approve the new redistricting maps. There are however, genuine issues of whether Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated in redrawing the state’s political maps. Three federal judges, in an opinion, stated the court set a trial date of Jan. 15. The redistricting maps are under attack in a second federal case in San Antonio. That court drew up temporary maps. Abbott said the court over stepped its authority. The Supreme Court will hear that appeal on Jan. 9. Meanwhile, the uncertainty has left many politicians in limbo, not knowing what their districts will look like. If the courts can reach an agreement on a map by late January, the Texas primary is scheduled to take place on April 3. The new filing deadline is Feb. 1. What has changed is that a candidate has to live in the district they file in. Other candidates may come forward, others may drop out. Some who switched over may find it better to switch back. Time will tell.


Have you heard about the jumbo prawns that are causing big worries for the Gulf of Mexico? It’s a truly jumbo shrimp that grows up to 13 inches. An Asian Tiger prawn has invaded the northern Gulf, threatening prized native species from crab and oysters to smaller brown and white shrimp. No one is sure what the ecological impact will be. The jumbo shrimp have been spreading along the Gulf Coast since 2006. The first jumbo prawn was found in Texas waters in June in Aransas Bay. Important to us is that one of the giants was found in Sabine Lake. The jumbo shrimp could become the fourth harvestable shrimp, but at the expense of our native crops.


A trend we will see in 2012 like we have never seen before is the increased number of Independent voters. In Orange County it’s estimated that 18 percent are Independent. They often may vote in one party primary and then in the general election they vote all over the ballot for the individual rather then the party. In Orange County, over the last few years, voters have voted Republican in national and state elections and voted strongly Democratic in local county elections. Independents overwhelmingly vote for Democrats in local elections. They judge the candidate rather than the party. Orange County is still very strongly democratic when it come to local elections but vote 52-54 percent Republican in national and state elections. Independents usually split in national races and vote strongly Democratic locally. Voters will be independent voters this time around; over 20 percent is my prediction. More and more people are getting away from party labels. National party politics have absolutely nothing to do with local polities. Local officials have no ties or obligations to state and national political policies.

Eight Years Ago-2003

The Greater Orange Area chamber selection committee, chaired by Darby Byrd, has selected Walter G. Riedel, III as “Citizen of the Year.” The chairman of the Stark Foundation board received nominations from ten organizations. *****Former Orange Countian, a 1983 Bridge City grad, Teresa Hearn George, daughter of Ray and Elaine Hearn, visited Bridge City from Nashville to attend grandmother, Inez Hearn’s birthday celebration. The former Miss Bridge City and Orange Leader reporter owns her own company, Cornerstone Communications, in Nashville. She again is working on the Academy of Country Music awards project. On the show her company will handle television and brand development. She has worked on and developed many television shows. (Editor’s note: We haven’t seen that beauty in a longtime. It’s time for her to come back this way. We know a great talent, a handsome young man, working around Nashville waiting to be discovered. He’s Hunter Davis, son of Tammy and Shawn Davis.)*****A few celebrities who passed away in 2003: Bob Hope, 100, who contributed so much to our little part of the country; Johnny 71 and June Cash, 73; Katharine Hepburn, 96; David Brinkley; Art Carney, 85, one of the Honeymooners; Gregory Hines, 57; Buddy Ebsen, 95, of the Beverly Hillbillies; Coach Sid Gilliam, 91; Buddy Hackett, 79; Donald O’Conner, 78; the host of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood; Fred Rogers, 74; John Ritter, 54, so on Tex Ritter, an East Texas pioneer; Johnny Paycheck, the working man’s friend, age 64; Barry White, 58; Floyd Tillman, 88, a singer and one of the first electric guitarist; Robert Stack, 84, The Untouchables: Preston Smith, 91, Texas’ education governor; Bill “Willie” Shoemaker, 72, Hall of Fame jockey with 8,833 wins; Tex Schramm, 83, made the Cowboys “America’s Team;” Also gone were seven of our astronauts, lost over East Texas on Feb. 1, when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry; One of my favorite actors, Charles Bronson, age 81; Two guys who made a name for themselves and went down in a blaze of fire power, Uday Hussein, 39 and brother Qusay, 37, sons of  Saddam, who were killed July 22; Last but not least was Strom Thurmond, 100, U.S. Senator for 48 years.


Lynda Montagne, Jacob Broussard, Stacy Roberts, Debbie Taylor, Harriet Dubose, Kenneth Wiemers, Linn Cardner, Raymond Costilla, Pam White, Slade McClanahan, Pam LeDoux, Sam McLellan, Jacklyn Bradberry, Larry Padget, Sherrie Reid, Kenny Dupuis, Lauren Leger, Kari Stringer, Kate Kazmar Butcher, Kyler Walron, Paula Aven, Madison Ranee Hanusch, Marie Perkins, Rebecca Hannegan, Richard Hunter, Jessica Anderson, Norma Fusilier, Sandra Hovind, Hayden George, Joanne Hill, Cynthia Hernandez, Glenda Wilburn, Robert Hoke, Ronnie Hearn, Amber Cortez, Angela Abshire, Cody Johnson, Courtney Anderson, David Villanoueva, Jason Sieck, June Gunstream, Kathy Mercer, O’Neal Waldrop, Betty Johnson, Ann Burns, Alvin Wright, Barbara Dardeau and Betty Johnston.


Coach Craig Stump is leaving West Brook after seven winning seasons. He posted a 57-23 record and went to playoffs each year, going three rounds into 5-A playoffs. He will become head coach at 5-A Atascocita, in the Humble school district. The school began playing in 2006. The Eagles went 3-7 and 1-5 in district this past season so Stump will have a chance to prove his magic. As far as I know, brother Chris Stump is staying pat in Bridge City. *****A few special folks celebrating their special day. Charles Pratt, I believe, turns 77 on Dec. 28. A local boy, former Stark high footballer, married the lovely Edith (Ms. Edee) over 50 years ago. He and Edee have had health issues lately and we extend birthday and best wishes. ***Commissioner David Dubose’s better half, Ms. Harriet Dubose, notches another year Dec. 28. She looks great and always on the move. ***Kenny “Kee-Kee” Dupuis celebrates Dec. 29. With each passing year he turns a little more into his daddy. Soon he will be “Old Man” Dupuis. ***A beautiful lady, Norma Fusilier celebrates on Dec. 31. Best wishes. Mark and Charlotte Walles’ first born grandson, Hayden Wayne George turns 3 on New Year’s Eve. He is the son of Alayna and Kenneth “K’ Dub” George***Joanne Hill, Cynthia Hernandez, Glenda Wilburn, Robert Hoke and Ronnie Hearn all celebrate with the New Year, Jan. 1, 2012. ***On Jan. 3, our friend commissioner Owen Burton, who has a special care taker in Ms. Nelda, celebrates another year. If anyone is more conservative than John Dubose it’s Owen. ***Beth Rash, Richard Corder and Vergie Moreland all celebrate on Jan. 4. Happy birthday, good health and long life to all. *****Happy anniversary: Pretty Ms. Phyl has been down the highway of life with Roy for 57 years come New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. What a trip that has been for that poor girl. Best wishes to the Dunn’s for many more. (See Life’s Highway) ***Also celebrating on Dec. 31, are good friends Jerry and Barbara Childress. I recall their wedding night, well some of it. Here’s wishing them good roads ahead. *****The economy, despite roadblocks by the congress, is ending 2011 on a roll. The job market is healthier, a turn-around for the depressed housing industry is underway, gas is cheaper, factories are busier, stocks are higher and new house construction has risen more than nine percent. People applying for unemployment benefits came in at 366,000 last week, down from 659,000 in 2009. Even in good times, 280,000 to 350,000 draw unemployment. Americans are feeling better about the economy according to the conference board. The consumer confidence index climbed 15 points to 56, the biggest one-month jump since April 2003. President Obama’s approval numbers are up 28 points since it’s low a year ago. One of the biggest chamber type gimmicks has got to be the Iowa caucuses. They have taken something that means nothing, to bring in millions of dollars into the state. When all is said and done, it’s mostly popularity or the most unpopular contest. The Republican candidates are in Iowa right now throwing bushels of money away on every corner trying to buy popularity. *****Mel Gibson’s divorce from Robyn, wife of 30 years and mother of their seven children, will allow her to walk away with $400 million, half of their fortune. *****Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry screwed up in Virginia by not getting enough signatures to get on the ballot in the Republican Primary. This means they cannot be on the ballot in the general election and can’t get any Electoral College delegates if they win the nomination. *****Neighbor Cox went around a half day wearing Ms. Ginny’s glasses. He was too stubborn to admit to son-in-law, Keith, that he couldn’t see and what he did see was in 3-D. Ms. Ginny couldn’t see anything with the old man’s glasses. Ain’t getting old wonderful?  Daughter, Karen, Keith and son Kegan were down from Oklahoma for a Christmas visit. *****Texas Monthly gives Gov. Rick Perry the number one “Bum Steer” award. They said, “We can’t remember the last time anybody raced from hero to punch line at such a high speed.” Perry made sure that billions of dollars were slashed from education while stashing funds in his prized “Rainey Day Fund.” Over 100,000 education jobs were lost, 10,000 of these were teaching jobs. I still can’t believe Texas rejected Kay Bailey Hutchison or mayor Bill White to re-elect a clown that was not prepared for primetime. *****CREAUX’S TIP OF THE WEEK: When you get a splinter, reach for the Scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the Scotch tape over the splinter and then pull it off. It works most every time, painlessly and easily. *****CAJUN DEFINITION: Maque Choux (mock shoe) a dish made by scraping corn off the cob and smothering the kernels preferable in an iron pot. Add tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, and spices and stir often. I add a tablespoon of butter. *****Mississippi governor Haley Barbour will return to his lobbying firm in Washington and also to the paid speaking circuit. *****President George H.W. Bush stopped short of endorsing Mitt Romney but said he’s the “Best Choice.” Bush was careful not to offend his home base. He said, “I like Perry but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.” In some circles it’s believed that Obama will win re-election and shortly after the inauguration in Jan. 2013, Jeb Bush will start touring the country, writing op-eds and being visible for a run at the presidency in 2016. Bush’s endorsement of Romney is a staying good with the GOP establishment move. More centrist, more middle-of-the-road voters are where the country will be in 2016. They’re banking on the Tea Party fading away except in small radical groups. *****Most Republicans I’ve spoken with believe if an Independent, Ron Paul, Trump, etc, runs for president, the odds are a Republican can’t get elected. I believe with an open seat in 2016, Jeb would have a lot of competition in the GOP but going in, he would be a front-runner.*****Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s 27 year record for yards passed in a regular season. Marino finished with 5,084 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 1984. Monday night, in a Saint 45-16 win over Matt Bryant and the Atlanta Falcons, Brees reached 5,087, beating the 27-year record by three yards. Drew still has one game to go. Bridge City’s Matt Bryant was three for three in field goals. He kicked for 34 yards, 51 yards and 30 yards. Brees is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice. He had 5,069 yards in 2008. Brees is a Texas boy from Austin, who played college ball at Purdue.*****The American “Game of the Week” is Sunday between the Cowboys and the Giants, in New York. It’s a winner take all. Win you’re in, lose you’re out.


On Dec. 28, Denzel Washington will be 57; Sienna Miller, 30 and Stan Lee, 89.***Mary Tyler Moore will be 75 on Dec. 29; Jon Voight, 73; Jude Law, 39 and Jessica Andrews, 28.***Tiger Woods will be 36 on Dec. 30; LeBron James, 27 and Julianne Moore, 51.***Anthony Hopkins, 74 on Dec. 31; Val Kilmer, 52 and Joey McIntyre, 39.***On Jan. 1, Chris Jerico will be 41 and Alexandra Holden will be 34.***On Jan. 2, Cuba Gooding Jr. will be 43; Christy Turlington, 42; Taye Diggs, 39 and Kate Bosworth, 28.***Mel Gibson will be 55 on Dec. 3 and Eli Manning will be 30.


Alcid Comeaux bought himself a nice Jersey cow from Joe Boudreaux. Bessie her give tree and a half-gallon of milk a day. Comeaux him, bought a bull to produce more cows like Bessie. He put his new bull in da pasture wit his beloved cow. Da problem is wen ever dat bull come close to Bessie she move away her. No matter wat approach da bull try him, Bessie move away from da bull and he can’t succeed in his quest.
Comeaux him, brought Bessie to da vet school at L.S.U. He told da vet, Dr. Deville, wat was happening in da pasture. It didn’t make any difference wat approach da bull use him, Bessie move away.
Dr. Deville him, axe, “Did you buy dis cow from Lafayette?”
“I sure did,” Comeaux answer, “I bought her in Lafayette from Joe Boudreaux. How you know dat cow came from Lafayette, hanh?”
Dr. Deville him, replied wit a distant look in his eyes, “Because my wife Agnes is from Lafayette her too.”


Well, I’ve made it to the end, the last column of the year. I’m forever grateful for your readership. Some of you have traveled every step of the way with Creaux and I. Thanks for your loyalty over the years. You have made us the most read column in the trade area. Not always the most popular but always the most read. If you read “The Record” from cover to cover you will find that the paper is pretty well balanced. Kent Conwell sometimes is nearly a John Bircher but that’s okay. We also carry views from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison whenever she sends them. The views expressed in this column are those of Creaux and I and don’t reflect the views of the staff or management, only our own. We read a lot, we study a lot and we believe in our views.*****Next week, at this time, the show in Iowa will be over. I’ll bet the winner of the contest will never be president of the United States. Hopefully I can get to some predictions next week.***** The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Novrozsky’s this week and back to Robert’s next. Last week Robert treated the Bunch with his annual Christmas lunch. It’s still hard to believe that Rev. Leo is gone. He had many friends in the Lunch Bunch group. Have a safe and happy New Year. Take care and God bless.